Track Plastic Pellets with the New Nurdle Patrol Phone App


The Nurdle Patrol Citizen Science Project has just released a mobile phone app that allows citizen scientists to log their plastic pellet data from their phone. This app is available for both iOS and Android devices and will streamline data entry by having a profile set up for each user. The app also allows users to see their current location and use that location for entering their survey information. The first time the user downloads the app, they will need to create a profile. This will only need to be done once, then the user is set up to be able to input nurdle survey data quickly. The Conrad Blucher Institute at Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi developed the app, with funding from the Matagorda Bay Mitigation Trust through the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute.

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What is a nurdle? It's a lentil size piece of plastic that is the raw material to almost everything made of plastic. Once these nurdles are made, they are shipped all over the world to make every day plastic products. The nurdles are escaping to the environment at the manufacturing facility when loading/unloading to rail-car or trucks, fall out during transportation, and during spills at sea and on land. The biggest impact is to fish and wildlife that eat the nurdles since they look like a natural food source. Fish, birds, and sea turtles have all been documented as eating these plastics. The nurdles also absorb harmful chemicals such as PCBs and PAHs that are known to impact animals negatively. Nurdle Patrol is trying to find the source of the pellets by counting concentrations on our beaches, lake shorelines, and riverbanks. Check out the map at www.nurdlepatrol.org to see what data has been collected in your area, and where data still needs to be gathered. Come join us, use your phone, and pick up plastic pellets at your favorite spot!